Keywords: cogito, innate ideas, foundationalism, introspection, internalism
One of the most basic approaches to knowledge is rationalism. The roots of this approach go back to antiquity (Pythagoreans, Plato’s intuitionism, Aristotle’s logic), however we consider René Descartes to be a typical example of modern rationalism.
Descartes realised that certain and undisputable knowledge must be based on clear and indubitable foundations (Descartes 2006, 9, resp. ATM VII 17). These are derived from the way we acquire the information which we base our knowledge upon. It is no surprise that in his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes began with searching for the indubitable elements of knowledge, by testing the foundations of our knowledge. If the foundations are dubitable, then we cannot trust knowledge either. ← 75 | 76 →
Descartes’ method was a variation of methodological scepticism. Its result was the refusal of all certainty about sensory perceptions because it is obvious from experience that sometimes the senses mislead us. The fact that they are misleading (a stick in the water appears to be broken) is clear from the sensory experience itself (we can take the stick out of the water or verify the shape by touch). This means that sometimes the senses say something and other times they say something opposite, and if reality is consistent then the senses are misleading in at least one of the cases. Because there is no clear criterion according to which we can decide when to believe the senses and when...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.